Sky Movies Crime & Thriller: Sunday 8 November, 7.00pm
Out of town hit man Tom Cruise appoints unsuspecting Los Angeles cabbie Jamie Foxx as his designated driver for a night-time trawl around the city. Drug-cartel targets are duly hit as Foxx looks for a way out of a nightmare. Collateral is classy stuff, the coollest looking crime thriller since Heat. Which also made LA look like an alien urban dreamscape – and which was also made by Michael Mann, uncompromising and incomparable until he forswore film completely for video in Miami Vice and Public Enemies. In Collateral, Cruise and Foxx respond to Mann’s guidance with guile and grim humour.
And the class extends right through the cast, from Spain’s No Country for Old Men’s Oscar-winner Javier Bardem to England’s Transporter action-man Jason Statham. Bardem’s a paranoid crimelord, Statham’s the contact who bumps into Cruise at the airport, appraising him in a sunny South London once-over: “I’m fine mate, don’t worry about it.” In a city where human contact is clipped and distant, the man who makes the biggest impression is Barry Shabaka Henley, a nervous club owner regaling jazz-fan Cruise with stories of the good old days.
High-definition video accounts for he film’s dreamy sheen but the format has corroded Mann’s work since Collateral. Channel 4 has 2010’s The American (Sunday at11.05pm), George Clooney starring as a conflicted hitman (well, gee) in a fatally flawed character study from Control director Anton Corbijn. Visually they’re on a par, but Collateral’s script is far superior.